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How You Can Lose Fat, Get Fit, and Build Muscle by Exercising Less

Posted by | August 26, 2012 | Paleo, Workouts | 77 Comments

There is common assumption that more exercise is better. It isn’t.

What if I told you that you could get lean, lose body fat, and build muscle by exercising less? Well, that’s exactly what I did. Read on to see how.

High Intensity Exercise

Cardio Doesn’t Really Burn Fat

If getting lean were as straightforward as lacing up your shoes hopping on the treadmill, you wouldn’t see so many chubby runners. Many people exercise, experience cravings as a result, eat a ton, and never lose weight. It’s not their fault – they’re just doing it wrong.

Why? The actual caloric burn of aerobic exercise often doesn’t offset the post-exercise binge.

To put it into perspective, an hour on the treadmill burns off approximately one Starbucks muffin. Brutal.

More cardio is not the answer.

But you don’t need to grind it out on the Stairmaster or powerlift with the gym rats to achieve remarkable results. Exercise is not about “burning off” calories or punishing yourself – it’s about achieving hormonal and metabolic changes within the body that maximize fat burning and muscle toning with the minimum amount of stress on the body as possible.

A “Dose” of Exercise

If we’re talking about a dose of medicine, a small amount has no significant effect, while a large amount is fatal. The dose-response model below shows the effect caused by differing levels of exposure (or doses) to a stressor (usually a chemical) after a certain exposure time.

The Dose Makes The Poison

The dose-response model can be applied to exercise, as well. Make no mistake: exercise is a stressor.

Borrowing from the world of pharmacology, I think of exercise as a “dose:” too little has no significant effect while too much is harmful.

However, it’s worth noting that some exercise is infinitely better than none. Zero exercise has a negative effect, so we could argue that the curve should start in “negative” territory. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s start at “neutral.”

Exercise Minimum Effective Dose

Adapted from http://whole9life.com/2012/05/rest-vs-recovery/

As you can see, a relatively minimal amount of exercise can produce optimal results. But while some exercise produces a positive effect, too much will result in net negative effects (marathoners beware).

The dose-response model can be applied to the following concepts, as well:

  • Too little of a micronutrient will produce no positive effect, a moderate amount is optimal, while too much can be toxic.
  • Too little sunlight will risk Vitamin D deficiency, while too much risks sunburn.
  • Too little protein results in muscle catabolism while the optimal amount maximizes muscle growth and repair. Any more than that is a waste.

Aim for the “Minimum Effective Dose”

If you jump in the water on a sticky day, you get wet (the minimum effective dose). Shooting yourself in the face with a Super-Soaker won’t make you any wetter. But it might sting a little.

Same with nutrition and exercise. To stick with the example of protein above, eating more than the “minimum effective dose” of protein does not result in increased muscle growth. Once you hit the minimum, you hit a biochemical bottleneck where “more” is simply wasteful. So put down your protein shake, champ.

Think of exercise not as a period of time to “burn off” calories, but as a stimulus that spurs your body to burn fat and build muscle.

So if more isn’t better, how do you achieve optimal results?

Effective Exercise

The goal is to maximize the net positive effects of exercise before reaching the point of diminishing returns. An optimal dose of exercise produces desired hormonal and physiological response with the minimum amount of stress.

How? Short bursts of intense exercise and occasionally lifting heavy things.

Case Study: High Intensity Exercise Versus Cardio

In one of my many experiments guinea-pigging on myself, I wanted to see how my body responded to different levels and types of training. After finishing in the top 3% of runners in my second marathon in 2 months, I shifted to shorter distances and prioritize sprints and finished in the top 4% of the 10k a few weeks later –  a similar level of relative competitiveness.

Abel Marathon

Since I was exercising more (running 50 miles a week versus less than 10) with a very solid finish time, many assumed that my body would be optimized when I was in tip-top marathon shape.

The results are far more interesting.

The picture on the left shows me just before finishing my second marathon in two months (running 50 miles a week with no sprints). The picture on the right shows me just a few weeks later after I reduced my mileage to less than 5-10 miles a week and began incorporating sprints…

Marathon vs. Sprint Male Body

Holy smokes.

By switching from cardio to sprints, I shed body fat and increased lean muscle by 10 pounds. My body regained healthy color and a more masculine shape. I felt tons better. Even my face changed… from being Sam-the-Eagle-from-Sesame-Street-skinny to a healthy “normal.” All from exercising much less.

So What Happened Here?

Have you ever noticed that most endurance athletes are rail-thin, pale, and look a little unhealthy? But what about athletes that are required to perform short bursts of maximum output, like sprinters? They’re jacked!

This is what happens when you run too much: your body doesn’t know you are running a marathon or if you’ve just been run over by a truck.  So your hormones go wacky, your fight/flight response is heightened, and your body pumps you full of stress hormones. For long-term training, fat loss, and health, this is all bad news.

Because it’s always trying to recover from what you just did to it and protecting itself from whatever might happen next, your befuddled body never has a chance to heal. As a result, your body gleefully eats away at your muscle.

Endurance training sends a signal to become more energy efficient and use more fat as fuel, while high intensity training sends the muscles an adaptive signal to become bigger and stronger and more efficient using glucose for fuel. With high amounts of endurance training you are at a higher risk of fat storage due to starvation response and associated metabolic slowdown when not replenishing enough calories after a long run (not to mention fat gain after overdoing it with post-exercise binges – try to not eat an entire pie after a marathon – I dare you).

Abel Eats Pie

So stop the frustrating, endless cycle of jogging, stuffing your face, and cursing your stubborn belly fat. If you want results, find an exercise you enjoy, train hard (for short amounts of time), and expect success.

In short, sprinting is for winners. Don’t just exercise, exercise effectively and you’ll rock the house.

If you want to learn more about working out less, and burning more fat check out my 30-Day Fat Loss Program for a special discount through the link below…

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77 Comments

  • Jay Killeen says:

    I love it! Its going straight to my facebook wall. Thanks for writing this up Abel. People need to know how simple this stuff is. Being ‘strong enough’ to ‘endure’ the torture of cardio based exercise is not the answer. Losing weight isn’t just a matter of ‘will’ it is a matter of getting educated and questioning everything you thought was true because to many people trust in ‘common sense’.

    • Abel James says:

      Totally right, Jay! Thanks for sharing.

      • Rudy Carrera says:

        I just picked up ‘The Wild Diet’, and everything makes sense. I have had two knee surgeries and my meniscus was removed in November, but I’m willing to give this a full go, pending a doctor’s release. What do you recommend I start with in terms of doing these sprints? Should it be complimented with any other exercise?

  • Tom Peterson says:

    Abel, I have a slight dispute with your Exercise as a “Dose” figure. The graph appears to imply that no exercise has neither a positive nor negative effect but based on my experience and observation there is definitely a negative effect when no exercise is performed.

    As for the Effective Exercise figure, from where did the stress curve originate. It appears to be incorrect since more stress should probably result in lower benefit although there are probably people that defy it. A curve starting in the high left and moving to the lower right may be more appropriate although having no stress my not be very beneficial as well. There must be a stress curve out there somewhere.

    I definitely agree with the intent of the article. I have been doing a HIIT workout once or twice a week for about six months now and I have been doing a 20 minute HIT workout once a week for about four months now and my body continues to slowly transform before my eyes. It’s nice to be able to play soccer with my daughter and have confidence that I can keep up with her as well as play tennis or go biking for a few hours.

    At some point in the future I will have to start playing with my HIT workout to find the sweet spot that keeps me at the fitness level I desire.

    I really enjoy your podcasts and blog articles!

    • Abel James says:

      Hi Tom,
      Those are great points – thanks for sharing. These charts are meant to simulate drawing on a chalkboard – they’re not mathematical as much as illustrative.

      For the “exercise as a dose” figure, I’ve added this note: “It’s worth noting that some exercise is infinitely better than none. Zero exercise has a negative effect, so we could argue that the curve should start in “negative” territory. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s start at ‘neutral.'”

      For the stress curve, the relative benefit of exercise levels off as the stress increases. You’re right – if we continued the graph to the right, the benefit would ultimately go down. But as the stress level goes up, you’re also getting “fitter”; for example, it’s impossible to train for a marathon and achieve elite performance without a high level of stress. So at the upper right portion of the graph, you’d be getting very fit and very stressed; after that point the relative benefit would decrease.

      I’m glad you’re on board with HIIT – it’s transformative stuff. Always appreciate your thoughts, as well!

      Cheers,
      Abel

  • Jenny says:

    But if I really enjoy the long long endurance runs? But I don’t want to look neither like a grey skeleton or have a little bit of a belly ( my self restriction can only do so much;)
    You’re saying that I have to give up on my love for my desire to look good?! (Sorry if the grammar and/or spelling are incorrect, english is not my first language:)
    And thank you for very interesting and informational website and podcasts.

    • Abel James says:

      Hi Jenny,
      Thanks – that’s a great question. I, too, enjoy long runs/hikes/walks/bike rides/what have you. A long cardio event like that is just fine as long as you’re not doing it every day or even every other day. If you’re training most days of the week, though, you don’t want to overdo it with endurance. So enjoy your long runs, just try not to run 100 miles a week. 🙂

  • Hi Abel! Thanks for these information. I have been going jihad against fat loss myself and sometimes I do like to mix both just because I like to do an easy run and sprinting on a track! To be honest though, my jog is basically for recovery and just die on the sprint part. Can I make a request and if you can get Gary Taubes and/or Alex Hutchinson in one of your podcasts? Oh and gymnastic training, anything on that! Thank you and more power!!!

    Lee

  • Tyler Funderburke says:

    Hey Abel,

    I actually came across your show on Saturday and have become addicted. I am actually listening to it as I am typing. I just started the Paleo diet last week and I have to say it has not been easy. I have started working out by spending an hour on the eliptical every morning and I can see some results. I need more. How long should I do these prints and how far should I go. I am trying to get the distance out of my mind and trying to focus on the quality of my workouts. I am lost. Can you steer me in the right direction?

    • Abel James says:

      Hi Tyler, glad you’re digging the show. The Paleo diet can be tough at the beginning, but it’s worth it, my friend. Get off that elliptical and lift heavy (full-body) and get some sprints in there! A decent way to start is by sprinting for 20 seconds and resting for 30-60 seconds. Do it 10 times. Once that’s “easy” enough, you can work up to 20 seconds of sprints with 10 seconds rest 10 times in a row. If that doesn’t get you smoked, I don’t know what will. 🙂

  • Tyler Funderburke says:

    Thanks for the response! I do have one last question for you. I listened to your podcast about the Sprint, Lift, FUN, Walk and Rest. Do you have to do these in one day? Also, the FUN part can you do one excersise or can you do multiple ones for 20 minutes? What do you recommend?

  • Lee A says:

    After reading the article what other’s wrote, it makes a little more sense to me. I started at 240 lbs in July, I actively decided to cut out red meat, cut out diet soda, reduce love for sweet foods. I work out every day, doing cardio with a goal of 1000 calories burned using my heart rate monitor. I eat much healthier meals. Currently, I’m down to 217. while my gut is slowly melting away, other parts of my body are far more noticeable of weight loss. Moobs are taking a little longer to lessen.

    I’m going to try this HIIT workout, maybe this will help my endurance and spend less time at the gym which is usually 1h 30 mins. its so easy to put on the weight, its a shame its a #$%^& to take it off. lol

    • Amanda says:

      Lee: Congrats on making steps toward getting healthier! I think the point Abel makes is, if you follow his advice, taking the weight off ISN’T #$%^&! It will just melt off and quickly. I’m guessing he’d also recommend you put red meat back into your diet. Cheers! and good luck to you.

  • Liz says:

    Abel,
    How often do you recommend doing the sprints? And how often should we be lifting?

    And I really enjoy Zumba, which is an hour long class. Would that count as endurance training and is it fine if I do it once or twice a week?

    Thanks!

    • Abel James says:

      Hi Liz,
      It depends on your goals, but Tabata sprints once a week along with lifting once a week should do the trick. And breaking it up with weekly Zumba is perfect! Enjoy.

  • Elise says:

    Abel,
    This article is awesome and it makes perfect sense! Thank you for sharing. I’m currently training for a marathon and I’ve actually gained weight and feel tired all the time. My hormones are all out of whack. I think this will be my first and last marathon. I can’t wait to get back to normal workouts!

  • Greg says:

    Abel
    First of all, let me say I have recently discovered you and I love your shows, blogs and videos. You are really easy to relate to and help put so much of this confusing and contradictory information into perspective. I have heard about HIT training and have wondered how to incorporate it into my regular gym and swim sessions. Would you suggest it becomes part of a workout routeine or should all routeines be ditched and only do HIT training wheneve in the gym?

    Another question if I may is that I have literally just discovered intermittant fasting and these benefits it provides. I wanted your advice on what to be eating as the low calorie intake (500 cals) on the fast days – as i am lead to believe that some research suggests that lots of problems are associated with too high a protein diet and that we should cut the amount of protein in western diets. I have not found any info anywhere that suggests what to eat when on a fast/ very low calorie intake day? I see some people suggesting a small portion of eggs and ham or salmon but this sounds like a lot of protein which will negate the benefots brought about by the fast? Very confused on this one …..any help greatly appreciated (sorry its a bit off topic)

    Keep up the great work – I surely will keep tuning in!

    Greg

    • Abel James says:

      Hi Greg,
      On question 1, I’d add in Tabata sprints 1x a week. No need to make every session a Tabata, though.

      Eating on low calorie days don’t need to be much different than high calorie days. Eat clean, mostly Paleo, primarily plants and healthy animal foods, and you’re good. Don’t freak out too much, and if you need more guidance check out my program: http://leanbodycommunity.com/free-fat-loss-video/

  • Jorge Pontes says:

    So basicly what you are saying is that we need to do the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Is that the same as for example: Running for 30 min where you have 5 min warmup and the rest 30” high speed run and 1′ 30” recovery jog during 25′
    Thanks for all the info so far.

  • Mindy Klement says:

    Great post! I experienced this exact scenario personally just a few weeks ago. I had been working out 2 hours a day 5 days a week, then doing a one hour workout the 6th day and a light run/walk on the 7th day – my day “off”. (More is better, right??) I have a trainer that I see regularly and he mentioned I was working out too much – which just didn’t make sense to me. I saw a nutritionist who agreed with him, and they both recommended I cut back on working out and start eating more whole foods – the paleo diet, essentially. In the last few weeks, I’ve cut my workouts in half and have been eating paleo about 80% of the time. I can definitely see a difference!! Now to just find that optimal balance. I do enjoy running and have been doing barre classes for a couple of years – that plus my trainer. Finding the right mix is hard. Is it just trial and error?

    Thanks for the great information, Abel. I’ve just recently signed up for your newsletters and love what I’ve read/heard so far!

    • Emily Dewey says:

      Awesome! Sounds like you are certainly on the right track 🙂 Trial and error is definitely what it’s all about. Only YOU can really figure out what is best for YOUR body!
      – Emily, FBM Team Coach

  • Jennifer says:

    So, what would your recommendation be for a fit woman with large amounts of muscle mass that ONLY wants to cut fat. I do not wish to add any more muscle to my frame and my body has a tendency to do just that. My muscles will get bulkier but the fat does not budge. I have about 10lbs that I want to get rid of and nothing seems to work. Thoughts?

    • Emily Dewey says:

      Perhaps instead of focusing on lifting/building muscle, High Intensity Interval Training (sprints in particular) might be a good focus for you. Keeping an eye on carb intake would also be important!
      – Emily, FBM Team Coach

    • Danae says:

      That is exactely my question too! Would love to receive an idea how to approach this!

  • Adam Van Asten says:

    I enjoy this post and it make sense. But how to I know when too much is too much? I know I used to “over workout” Lifting and running well over 2 hours everyday. But I saw minimal results (some but not much) I switched up my to do 3 days of HIIT Carido (30 seconds walk * 30 seconds jog * 30 seconds sprint) for 30 sets and about an 1.25 hours of lifting for 3 other days of the week (with learning how to eat clean at the same time) The results were STAGGERING. In 12 weeks I cut 42 lbs and I dont feel that I sacrificed much muscle in the process. The last 3 weeks however, i feel like I hit a plateau… Most of the time I feel like I should workout longer and harder to break through the plateau… but I dont want to overwork myself. Any suggestions?

    • Emily Dewey says:

      You might actually find that if you back off and take a break for a bit, then dive back into your routine, you’ll be able to jump-start your gains again. It sounds like you had some serious body transformation, so you might be in need of a break to rest & recuperate. – Emily, FBM Team Coach

  • Lucas says:

    Abel,
    I’m a little confused about carb intake. The traditional macronutrient programs out there usually tell you to take in about your bodyweight’s worth of protein and about the same amount carbs, and then fill in what’s left with fats. The only carbs that I’m having are things like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and a piece of fruit or two a day. I also eat fibrous veggies which I do not count as carbs. Should I not be having the brown rice/sweet potatoes?
    Great show by the way! I enjoy listening to your podcasts, great advice. I found out about you through listening to Dave Asprey, which I consider a great mentor to the modern caveman as well.

    • Emily Dewey says:

      It can certainly be confusing, but it’s all about self-experimentation. Brown rice & sweet potato can be great sources of carbohydrates. I’d recommend experimenting a bit on timing and amounts in order to optimize your workouts and recovery. Don’t be afraid of fat either! – Emily, FBM Team

  • Abel, firstly let me thank you for the podcasts which I always find interesting. With this blog post you have not really touched on the element of fatigue and recovery. HIT protocol can create significant fatigue in the body and there needs to be a period of rest or at least recovery sessions between them.

    Generally the older you are the more recovery you need to slot in after a HIT session. The question most people struggle with is knowing how much to rest. Generally you find that most people do their easy sessions too hard and their hard sessions too easy. I have been using the EPOC guidelines to guide the rest/recovery after a HIT session or a fast 5k run. This needs a good heart rate monitor to track intensity levels.

    Also people should be careful of doing HIT too late in the day. A really hard HIT session will raise your cortisol levels big time and you will really impact the ability to sleep. HIT is best done in the morning so the body has the time to reset the metabolism over time.

    Hope some of this helps

  • Roy S. says:

    “Marathoners beware”? Because there are so many professional marathoners getting fat running 100 mile weeks?

  • […] I saw this interesting read on Twitter. Pretty crazy how different this guy looks from distance versus speed training but the […]

  • Scott says:

    Abel,

    on July 8, 2013 I switched my diet to a paleo change. I did this because I knew I was taking in way too much sugar & wanted to get in better shape. I have already incorporated sprints into my work out routine & have seen great results too. My starting weight was 229 & as of last Sunday I was down to 209. I have my diet down & working for me very well. I have switched up my workouts trying different things…i.e. weight training 5 days a week, tabata 3 days & weight training 3 days per week, and several other variations. I saw in one f the comments you mentioned 1 day of weight training & 1 day of tabata. Is that seriously enough?

    I recently was introduced to your site from another blog I follow. Great site with great info! I haven’t checked out the podcast’s…yet. Thanks for the great article!

    • Emily Dewey says:

      It really depends on your goals. For maintenance, that may be enough. Abel generally sticks to 1 day each of weights, sprints and Krav maga practice. Congrats on your success already! – Emily, FBM Team

  • Rebekah says:

    I’m new to paleo (today is my second day). I haven’t done any exercise yet but want to do whatever will have the most benefit for weight loss in these initial stages. Is something like the Insanity work out appropriate or are there other that will be much more effective?

    • Emily Dewey says:

      Insanity can be a great program, but often what happens is someone gets REALLY into it and then reverts back to old habits after the program is done. I think it’s more helpful for people to find exercises that they LOVE and can commit to on a REGULAR and SUSTAINABLE basis. Try it out and see how you like it! – Emily, FBM Team

  • Kara O says:

    Hi Abel,
    Been watching the show for a while now and loving it. Im super addicted which is kinda bad as I am studying nutritional medicine at uni and while I should be doing that sometimes I find my self watching so many podcasts all the sudden the days gone haha. Oh well at least its relevant hey! Loving the paleo recipes too. I truly think a lot of people, trainers as well have a skewed idea when it comes to aerobic vs anaerobic training. I was a gymnast for 13 years and when I look back we never ran long distances only sprints and I was at my absolute peak fitness. Ive been kickboxing for 6 years now and my trainer seems to think running is the base to all fitness. The only thing I have got from long distance running is sore knees and ankles and huge increase in food intake. I noticed when I do more endurance training I feel really bloated after too (not sure if that’s relevant). Thanks for the awesome info.

    Kara

  • Jasmine says:

    Just a huge thank you to the Fat Burning Man Show! Incredibly informative, entertaining & motivational.

  • Kika says:

    I’ve been following you from the entheos conference. I am 42 and had a total hip replacement a year ago due to a childhood issue. I have gained weight, fat in particular, over the past few years as my mobility decreased. I am not able to run or jump and wonder what type of exercise you might recommend as high-intensity/low-impact that would permit me to effectively increase lean muscle mass?!

    • Emily Dewey says:

      If you’re dealing with previous injuries and recovering from surgery I’d highly recommend working with a training who can focus on working with the restrictions you may experience. Body weight exercises though are a great place to start for everyone! – Emily, FBM Team

  • Ryan says:

    Thanks for the great post and shows. My current exercise program consists of 30 minutes on the treadmill and then 30 minutes of weight training. My time on the treadmill is spent in 60-90 second bursts of pretty fast(for me) running broken up by 90-120 seconds of slow jogging or walking depending on how I’m feeling. I’m pretty out of shape and have 85 pounds to lose to get back down to my fighting weight of 20+ years ago. Is this a good plan or should I just be running one speed for the entire 30 minutes? According to the treadmill I cover 2.5 miles over the 30 minutes plus a 5 minute cool down at the end. I would really like to optimize my time in the gym and not have my exercise work against me. I definitely don’t binge after gym time and have changed my diet to as much real/natural food as possible. It may be considered paleo but I haven’t even read a true definition of paleo and don’t really care to put a label on my diet. I just want to eat real, unprocessed foods the way God intended us to. Thanks again.

  • Ozzie says:

    Hi Abel, I have quite a unique condition. I’ve survived HIV now for 34 years. Age: 62 y/o and former pastry chef. I learned years ago that my profession was literally poisoning people with sugar, fats, and all sorts of gluten and flours. Thus I retired and dumped that occupation. However I damaged my lower back from lifting 100 lb. bags of flour and sugars so I have degenerative lower back disease. Plus I also separated as in “herniated” my abs, so I am not allowed crunches or sit-ups. Recently my doc wanted me to take a fat drug called Egrifta which is like Human growth hormone and injectable. I have a phobia of needles so I declined this $3K/month treatment. (Little benefit like 17% fat loss.) But I have not given up. I’m now starting to apply Paleo and ditching my old Culinary training, plus investing in a high end elliptical machine. My income now doesn’t allow me a gym membership. The elliptical seems to most tolerable with my abdominal hernia and bad lower back. Running is very painful and not advised. What might you suggest to help with muscle gain? I’m 230 lbs. trying to get down to 180 lbs. and I’m a fighter and survivor. I keep an open mind to wellness. One condition related to the above that has dumped fat on my belly is Lipodystrophy. I use FitBit to track activity and keep me motivated to log foods. Many thanks for everything your doing !! Ozzie

    • Emily Dewey says:

      Hi Ozzie, Totally understand the budget restrictions, but before getting into anything too intense in terms of weight lifting to build muscle I would be sure you chat with someone who can advise you on how to work around the lower back issues. In the mean time though, body weight exercises would be an excellent place to start: push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, planks etc. Are all modifiable for any levels of fitness! – Emily, FBM Team

  • Stephanie says:

    I just found your website and podcast about a week ago and it’s been great. I’d like to reduce body fat and build muscle. I’m currently doing a bootcamp class 3 times a week (class is 30 minutes), doing 2 interval workouts (30 minutes each) on the treadmill and 2 low intensity treadmill workouts (60 minutes each). Some of the interval treadmil workouts are the same day as boot camp so I always have 1 day off a week. Would that be too much cardio?

  • Jason says:

    Great article! I have been enjoying the video podcast. I have been doing insanity by beach body and I didn’t know how that would fit in with this article.

  • Abel, great post as always! I have been listening to your show for a few months and get great info! I am a Type 2 Diabetic and it seems like every time I listen to your show I go out and try to change things up and get zero results, likely because of my diabetes. It was mentioned in one of your shows recently that diabetics are “different humans all the way down to a cellular level”. That sucked to hear but it was probably needed. My question regarding this blog is this, does this information regarding sprinting vs. jogging apply to diabetics also? I am bound and F’n determined to beat this disease THIS YEAR and would really like your help, advice, etc.

    • Jimmy says:

      Dustin, if you have figured it out, let me know.
      Fellow type 2 here and really confused. trying out the wild diet. hope it works.

  • Erin says:

    Do you think you can do walking/ sprinting instead of jogging/sprinting and still get results? My aerobic capacity is limited. I can only jog for 4 mins max before I need to be revived :/ I walk about 4-5 kms daily and wonder if I could incorporate a walk sprint and get results? thanks 🙂

  • Lynn Rogers says:

    Hi Abel,
    Totally excited to have found you! Question: 4 days a week I do Cross Pit for 30 min ea. TABATS, Chelseas, burpees, box jumps, squats, bag slams, d ball throws, kettle bells, puah/pull/sit ups, sledgehammers, you name it. On those 4 days I also do 30 min of MMA and 2 of those days I do 30 min of Kaju keno (karate, jujitsu, kenpo, judo and chines boxing). Am I doing too much? This is all done Mon thru Thurs. How much would you recommend I cut back?

  • Lynn Rogers says:

    Sorry it is supposed to say Kajukenbo. Thanks! Can’t wait to hear from you!

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  • Donna says:

    Hi Abel!

    I love this post. And on one of your recent Productivity interviews this week you made the comment that you only work out once a week. Did I hear that correctly?! And that you are trying to reduce that even more!

    I love to see posts or a product about your workout routine.

    BTW… I have tried many times searching your blog for specific topics and can never find a way to do it. Would be great to have a Search field on your site so that we can find blog topics easily 🙂

  • […] recent workout included weighted pullups, push-ups, dips, and man-maker lunges followed-up with sprints in the parking lot. When they can find a gym, workouts focus on heavy, functional movements like deadlifts, barbell […]

    • Suka says:

      I am intrigued and am on my second day of this diet. I am having a hard time trying to get rid of the traditional approach with both diet and exercise. I am afraid to cut back on exercise but will give it all a try. Wish me luck!

    • Paula says:

      Hi, I’m walking for and hour and a half a day, I’m I doing enough ?
      love your book
      Thanks Paula

  • jimred says:

    Hi Able
    I am just starting to learn about the paleo diet.
    Regarding your interval training is this dangerous to older people I’m 67
    it seems great for fit younger guys
    What do you recommend

  • Johan Koornhof says:

    I am a mountain biker and do three day stage events. It is important for me to spend enough time in the saddle so my body is used to sitting there for 4-6 hours each stage. How do i get fitter when you suggest i should ride less long distance per week?

  • Outstanding and informative post. I like the idea of the sprinting. I am planning to do my first marathon shortly after my 61st birthday (comes up in a few months). Glad I found your site and your great information as I move forward on achieving my goal.

  • Cindy Areglado says:

    Abel very Enlightening. I lost 60 pounds ten years ago on Weight Watchers back in 2005 the low fat craze. I was better off at Burger King between the walking and eating so little fat and oils my hormones went wacky sent me into early menopause and a 3 month depression and took years to get my hormones on track. Today, I eat only whole foods no grains and love food and Teach Zumba, Tai Chi and Qi Gong and live life in my Awesome Zone.

    Abel, Can you answer this question. I have never had high endurance I literally pass out and have to stop if the exercise is too intense like biking or walking up steep hill especially if its hot any type of higher than normal stressor even heat “I go down”. Doctors say just avoid those things. Even lifting weights short of drinking entire thing of Gatorade (gross) my muscles tire, and I have tried everything Protein Powders, coconut water to power my body. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Kris Kern says:

      Hi Cindy

      I too used to suffer with muscle fatigue during exercise, though not as severely as you.
      You might like to try using the following supplements in your water bottle and sip during your exercise:
      1 Life Extension Magnesium Citrate capsule (magnesium helps muscles relax and reduces inflammation)
      1 Thorne Basic Nutrients #III capsule (I prefer without Copper & Iron-provides B vitamins & other nutrients but is also helping to get rid of extra toxins & neutralise oxidative substances being produced during exercise )
      1 tsp D-Ribose powder -I use Healthy Origins brand (helps refuel muscles faster)
      Twist and pull the capsules apart and tip contents into water bottle.
      All of these supplements can be purchased from iHerb
      These should all help with muscle recovery -I’ve found they helped me greatly. Some of us produce much higher levels of oxidative by-products during exercise. If your problem continues you may wish to find a naturopathic doctor in your area who can request an organic acids test which will give them lots of clues not found in conventional testing about what is going on with your biochemistry.
      All the best.

  • joe yobaccio says:

    Hi Able,

    I’ve followed your system (high intensity training/drinking 1 gallon of water/mostly Paleo diet) and lost 4-5 pounds in that last 7 days and 10 total, so this past week was fat loss and not just water loss.
    I have approx. 30lbs more that I want to lose.
    I wanted to know if adding the weight training and additional calories to add muscle will be counterproductive until I’ve lost more weight? I’m nervous that to add muscle, I will have to add more food and would not lose that 30lbs as fast. I know muscle burns fat, but I’d like to get your opinion.
    Thanks! Joe

  • Steve W says:

    How can I do short bursts while walking in water? Since water is so deanse, especially in deeper water.

  • We have been specific eager about finding out how women associated to their Fitbit.

  • Jay says:

    Abel,

    What can someone do for “sprinting” intensity that cannot sprint? My dad really needs a knee replacement, maybe double, but he isn’t a candidate because of his weight. Hes motivated to work out, he just can’t move his lower half well. Are there upper body “sprints” you recommend?

  • josh says:

    I absolutely agree with this post/article about overdoing working out. I was an athlete for years and trained hard. The harder I trained, the most my body ached, cracked, bruised, sore etc. You can overdo it on anything it seems. I don’t work out no where near as much as I use to. Sometimes I am too stagnant, but working out is overrated. Its addicting, just like a drug or food and should be controlled. I see too many older people that run everyday, miles and they are so thin and brittle. Their knees look shot, they look like they are about to crumble like a Jenga tower if I poked them. I have been there, overworking the body and it only turns into the law of diminishing returns when overdone.

  • Alisa says:

    Hi…
    What do you recommend I start with in terms of doing these sprints? Should it be complimented with any other exercise?

  • Daina says:

    This also assists in increasing and maintaining the lean body muscles along with built muscles.

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